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Uncertainty continues as Alberta set to lift moratorium on renewable project approvals

Press Coverage
February 13, 2024
CBC News

It has been more than six months since the Alberta government introduced a moratorium on new renewable energy project approvals. But with only weeks to go until the pause is set to end, companies are still wondering about the fate of their projects.

In August, the United Conservative Party government announced that the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC), the agency which evaluates and approves electricity generation projects, would hold an inquiry on land use and reclamation.

As the AUC did its work, officials paused power plant project approvals for wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and hydroelectric generators.

A number of farmers and rural municipalities welcomed the decision, hoping a review would examine the immediate and long-term impact of such infrastructure.

But members of the renewables sector said the pause caused a relative chill to settle in on the industry, leaving companies frustrated and uncertain if they would have to make major changes to their proposals.

"I can't see approvals rapidly moving forward without new regulations in place," said Jorden Dye, director of the Business Renewables Centre Canada.

The centre helps companies secure approvals. Dye said there is a reluctance to come forward with more ideas until there is some clarity.

"I can't see companies rushing to put in applications until they know what those regulations are going to be. So much of this is understanding what will be the new lay of the land."

It's estimated over a hundred projects, worth more than $33 billion, have been put on hold through the moratorium. Dye believes the moratorium was a "misstep" that was brought in without proper consultation.

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